Tuscany Restaurants: Buca di Sant’Antonio

by Samuele Sodini

There is a document dated 4 April 1782 in Lucca which makes a number of notable citizens responsible for inspecting various inns, including one called the Sant’Antonio. Without doubt, this is the present-day restaurant, the Buca di Sant’Antonio. (Buca is an old Tuscan word meaning a tavern or inn.)

Sometime in the nineteenth century, a staging post was set up in the little neighbouring piazza and the Buca became a place where travellers could stable their horses and stay overnight. Since the end of the coaching days, the Buca di Sant’Antonio has continued to make the best dishes in the traditional cuisine of Lucca.

Amongst these is farro soup, one of the oldest dishes in Italy, and a favourite of famous personages as: Giacomo Puccini, Ezra Pound, the King Gustavo of Sweden, the Pricess Margareth of England and others.

Typical dishes

First courses: liver in pastry alla toscana, porcini mushroom tartlet with chick pea sauce, salmon trout carpaccio with wild radicchio, farro soup in the traditional Garfagnana style, zuppa alla frantoiana (a soup of beans, vegetables and bread), ravioli with ricotta cheese and courgettes and tortelli with meat sauce;
Main courses: spit-roasted kid goat with turnip greens finished in the frying pan, roast stuffed rabbit with a soufflé of French beans and roasted salt cod with chick peas and local olive oil;
Desserts: apple tart with hot cream sauce, soft-frozen buccellato (a spicy fruit loaf) with blackcurrant sauce and the restaurant’s own biscuits.

Wine and alcholics

The wine list contains a good selection of Italian wines, with emphasis on the wines from important Tuscan vineyards, and special grappas and whiskies.

BUCA DI SANT’ANTONIO
Historical Restaurant
Via della Cervia, 3
55100 LUCCA
Tel: +39 0583 55881
Fax: +39 0583 312199
Closed on Sunday evening and Monday
Website
e-mail: labuca@lunet.it

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